Photo © Courtesy of Women’s College Hospital Foundation
While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our mental health, we have not all been affected equally.
Even before the pandemic, women were twice as likely to develop depression and anxiety disorders than men. New research since the onset of the pandemic has shown that Canadian women’s mental health has continued to see more negative impacts than men’s. Many women also face increased pressures and responsibilities due to spending more time at home.
Until recently, treatment options and services offered to women have not considered sex and gender differences, like physiological and cultural differences, that leave many women underserved and overlooked. This has resulted in what experts refer to as a “health gap,” which is unfortunately even wider for women in marginalized and disadvantaged communities.
With a long history of identifying and addressing health gaps, Women’s College Hospital (WCH) is leading the way when it comes to providing timely, expert and compassionate mental healthcare for women. In fact, the Department of Psychiatry at WCH is Canada’s largest research and clinical program focused on women’s unique mental health needs.
Each year, the interdisciplinary program supports over 20,000 patient visits for those in need of support and care for a wide range of specialty mental health conditions, including trauma and abuse, reproductive life stages (including around menstruation, pregnancy and postpartum, and menopause), medical psychiatry, refugee mental health, and more.
For Charlyn, who began online group therapy sessions through the Trauma Therapy Program (TTP) at WCH—one of the only therapy programs in Canada specifically designed for people who have experienced childhood trauma—the impact on her life and well-being has been profound.
“It’s given me my life back and given me greater acceptance of my past experiences and how they affect me today,” says Charlyn. “It’s allowed me to live my life authentically and take care of myself. And it’s let me know that I’m not alone.”
Julie, who was referred to Women’s College Hospital’s Reproductive Life Stages Program for support with postpartum depression following the birth of her second child, says the support from the program has had a profound impact.
“A huge part of going through postpartum depression for me was feeling like everything was out of control. But, thanks to the incredible support I received, I now have the strength and confidence to know that I do have power and control over my life and decisions,” Julie says.
With access to timely, appropriate, and patient-centred care and support, women facing mental health challenges can not only survive, but thrive.
Thanks to continued support from a generous community of donors, partners, and friends, Women’s College Hospital can continue to develop effective and innovative approaches to mental healthcare for women and underserved communities, and build much-needed capacity across the sector.
This July, you can join an UNSTOPPABLE community of thousands of runners and walkers coming together in support of the mental health of women and their families.
Register today for the virtual Run for Women, presented by the Shoppers Drug Mart LOVE YOU program and run, walk or roll anytime, anywhere between July 4 – 11, 2021. Every dollar raised by the Toronto Run for Women directly supports the Department of Psychiatry at Women’s College Hospital.
Register today at runforwomen.ca
For more than 100 years, Women’s College Hospital (WCH) has been developing revolutionary advances in healthcare and we continue to build on this rich legacy established by our founders – courageous pioneers who refused to accept the status quo. Today the hospital is still shaped by leaders who break down barriers in the pursuit of equity and excellence for the 21st century.